By Alhaji Haruna Sani
The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) has noted with serious concern and issued a stern warning to fuel dealers who are in the habit of building entertainment centres such as cinemas, night clubs, bars and other recreational activities around their gas stations.
PRA issued a press release on the 7th of January warning all dealers who are in the habit of operating their gas stations alongside entertainment centres to quit with immediate effect.
The Petroleum Regulatory Agency was established by an Act of Parliament PRA Act of (2014 ) to grant license and regulate the petroleum downstream activities in Sierra Leone including importation, storage, transportation, retailing, refinery, jetty and bunkering.
The Agency noted that such act is in contravention of the license granted for the purpose of selling fuel.
The Agency quoted Part V11 Section 61 (1) of the Statutory Instruments of 2016 states, noting that “No person shall sell petroleum by retail as a trader or dealer unless on a license issued by the Agency for that purpose”.
“Whilst approved minimarts and tire services are complements to the gas stations, the existence of night clubs, entertainment spots, and cinemas around filling stations, pose serious health and safety risk, taken into consideration the flammable nature of the commodity”.
The Regulatory Agency considers the safe handling of petroleum products in the best interest of public safety throughout the product lifecycle. They also states that gas stations in contravention of the stipulated act prohibited will not be licensed in 2022.
“This is also applicable to all emerging gas stations. To maintain good industry practice, affected dealers are hereby advised to visit the PRA headquarters to ascertain their Environmental, Health& Safety compliance status”.